Southern diet which has a propensity for deep fried pork or chicken, pies, and lots of sugar may boost the risk of heart disease, new study suggests.
A group of researchers from Harvard, Alabama and Boston universities found that some serious health risks were associated with a lifelong classic southern diet.
The study, which was recently published in the journal Circulation, cautions that southern foods may inflict serious damage upon the cardiovascular system. Dr. James M. Shikany, one of the study’s lead authors and nutrition researcher at the University of Alabama, recommend that fans of fried chicken, ham, gravy and biscuits should think again before indulging with their favorite comfort food.
He told reporters that Southern-style diet lovers should be aware that they are at a greater risk of developing heart diseases than other Americans. So, they should start gradually change their unhealthy diet habits.
Dr. Shikany and colleagues sifted through data on more than 17,000 U.S. adults aged 45 and older who weren’t previously diagnosed with a heart disease. Participants underwent physical examinations but they also had to fill in questionnaires on their dietary behavior. Volunteers were monitored between 2003 and 2007 and were asked to attend an interview and discuss their general health every half a year.
Scientists found five types of dietary patterns – convenience food-based diets which included pizza, Thai and Mexican foods, plant-based diets which included lots of veggies, fish, yoghurt and poultry, added sugar-based diets which included lots of deserts, and sugary drinks, and Southern-style diets which included fats, lots of eggs, organ and processed meats, fried dishes, and sugary drinks.
Participants who reported being on a Southern-style diet on a regular basis had a 56 percent higher risk of developing a heart condition than their peers who reported eating less or being on another type of diet. Participants who were long-time fans of Southern foods were mostly male African-Americans, those with lower education, and the residents of Southern states.
In the U.S., heart disease kills about 800,000 Americans every year, making the condition the leading cause of death in the country, The Heart Foundation reported. Southern foods are usually soaked with fat gravy or butter, are deep fried and battered. So, Southern diet boosts bad cholesterol levels and clogs arteries with fats.
Many of the negative health outcomes linked to this diet are caused by trans fatty acids which are plentiful in a classical Southern diet. Moreover, they are inexpensive, tasty, and easier to process by deep frying or grilling making them all the more appealing.
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